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Old 03-26-2014, 12:27 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by order99 View Post
The important question-are you comfortable commuting,running errands and traveling on an E-bike? And what sorts of weather would you be comfortable doing the above in?
El Paso is known as the Sun City, so most days are sunny (unfortunately, the temps in the summer are usually 100F or more). I would probably drive the Prius on rainy days or when there's a dust storm, depending on if my wife needs it.

Insight is more or less sold. Its sad, but its going to a good home. I doubt I could get more locally or that it would be under such good care.

DIY looks like the route I'll be taking. Seems like all the cheaper ones would need a complete overhaul anyway and anything that wouldn't would already cost several times what DIY would. I think I'll just use my current bike and add a torque arm or two to make up for the aluminum. I'm shooting for a middle of the road build, no lead acid but also no 40mph death trap. 20-25mph top speed on the motor would be perfect and a 20 mile range would either force me to get a good workout in or to top off the battery when I'm home during the day. Looks like I'll be spending about $1000 all together. Pretty spendy in my mind, but its not bad when you consider it won't have registration fees, insurance, or expensive maintenance.

I'm looking into getting new tires for my bike that are better suited to street use. The knobby tires it came with (which really aren't too aggressive) are pretty loud and are probably wasting quite a bit of energy. I also need to make them very puncture resistant. Goathead thorns are very common here and replacing tubes every other day isn't very economical.

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Old 03-26-2014, 07:05 AM   #12 (permalink)
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A lot cheaper and you can P & G it.
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Old 03-26-2014, 11:20 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Well, if the Insight is nearly sold, it sounds like you've made up your mind! May I recommend the following linkage?

Endless-sphere.com • Index page

There probably isn't an electric variant-whether Kit-built or DIY-that these folk haven't tried. Also, if you take deathtrain's advice and go with liquid fuel for range, then-

Motorized Bicycle Forum | MotoredBikes.com

-have pretty much tried it all in the combustion/compression engine department. In addition, just for kicks, you could try these guys-

Hank Palmer's Steam powered bicycle and Robert's Style Boiler

Kimmel Steam Engine Collection: George Nutz Steam Bicycle Engine and Boiler

....yes, there are steam-powerd bicycles out there.

Best of luck-and if I ever get my new 8'x8' Workshop up and running, I might try my hand at a simple friction-drive wooden recumbent this Summer, just enough power for hill-climbing assistance. I suspect you'll finish yours first, what with the Insight leaving soon and all...

One more link for luck-

Steve's Recumbent Bicycle Share Project - home recumbent bike builders

-just in case you decide to try the DIY route on the frame too!
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Old 03-26-2014, 11:42 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I've been spending a lot of time on Endless Sphere, its a great resource. Still haven't posted there, but I will soon to see if they can address some of my specific concerns and questions.

I'm pretty set on electric power for several reasons. I like that it is stealthy/quiet. Even though its legal, I'd still rather not get questioned by the authorities about it. Its also cleaner, provided I don't do something bad to a battery. And along with reducing my overall expenses, I want to move away from fossil fuels as much as possible. I don't know where my electricity comes from, but its a lot less likely to be from fossil fuels than gasoline. And not that it makes much of a difference, my electricity is free.

After doing more research since my first post, it looks like my bike will be fine as long as I use a torque arm or two. I just need to look into converting at least the front brake to a disc to better handle stopping from faster speeds.
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Old 03-30-2014, 08:03 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Figured I'd mention Mongo, it seems close to what you're after;

48V 15AH V2.5 LiFePO4 Battery Pack
Magic Pie 2 - Rear - 26 Inch - Golden Motor Canada



15ah LiFePO4 & MP2 hub on a Mongoose Snarl, good for just about 30mph for 30 miles (no assist). Two years so far as an all-season daily rider & commuter, somewhere between seven & ten thousand miles on it w/no issues - except the throttle I busted flipping it & the tires I've used up riding it ofc

Regardless of what motor chosen, do not get a "kit" with the battery included from the motor retailer, they're way over priced & over rated for what amounts to an aluminum case with "not as advertised" inside - I'd very much recommend pingbattery.com for your LiFePO4 needs, I'd very strongly recommend against anything other then LiFePO4 - the battery is so very much the most important component on an ebike
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Old 03-30-2014, 04:01 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Nice ebike, BarelyAWake. I read through your thread about it (link if anyone wants to check it out) and it looks like it would work well for me.
Do you have any torque arms on it? They're highly recommended over on Endless Sphere if your bike has an aluminum frame. I'm considering using a cheaper bike like you did, mainly to have disc brakes because it looks like it would cost about the same to add them to my bike as it would be to buy a Walmart bike. How is the regen? Does it kick in when you let off the throttle or when you apply the brakes? Maybe it would be enough to make my rim-brakes be ok.
What's the hottest temperature you've used it in? A complaint I've seen about the Magic Pies is that the internal controllers burn up, so I wonder if the MP3 with its fan would hold up in the 100+F temps I'll be riding in.
Its still going to be a couple weeks before I can start buying parts, I have to wait until after I finish selling the Insight.

Last edited by vskid3; 03-30-2014 at 04:20 PM..
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Old 03-30-2014, 08:00 PM   #17 (permalink)
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As much as I admire WalMart I would not buy a cheap bike for an e-bike project. The big issue is with the wheel bearings. I ride a Jamis Arragon I bought in 2000. I have replaced tires and I switched crank gears for a larger ratio with my fairing. Top quality pads and cables will give very good stopping power when properly adjusted. The regen will help slow you too. Legal speed is 20 mph with motor only. Rigging addition heat sinks might be possible. Paint the case white and a cooling mist for you could be arranged similar to water injection units.

Maxxis makes several tires that are e-bike rated but the popular Hookworm is big and strong. Stan's NoTubes system converts to a tubeless tire with half the rolling friction. See Mountain Bike News for articles and bike reviews. Also NYCElectric is a major dealer in electric bikes and posts reviews. The Bicycleman deals in electric kits and recumbents.

The fairing and tail box as in the low&slow motorcycle thread will help protect you from the elements and improve range.
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:32 AM   #18 (permalink)
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i would start with a good used mountain bike that is tenish years old. find one for $100.

disc brakes are great for off road use because they are less sensitive to a bent wheel or serious mud/muck. but at 250 pounds i can skid my front wheel with a 10 year old set of avid v-brakes.

90's early 00 alu. frames were very stiff. great for a road going electric conversion. but too harsh to maintain any value as an off road bike today,

if my local bike shop was a walmart... I would walk.
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Old 03-31-2014, 05:09 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vskid3 View Post
Nice ebike, BarelyAWake. I read through your thread about it (link if anyone wants to check it out) and it looks like it would work well for me.
Do you have any torque arms on it? They're highly recommended over on Endless Sphere if your bike has an aluminum frame. I'm considering using a cheaper bike like you did, mainly to have disc brakes because it looks like it would cost about the same to add them to my bike as it would be to buy a Walmart bike. How is the regen? Does it kick in when you let off the throttle or when you apply the brakes? Maybe it would be enough to make my rim-brakes be ok.
What's the hottest temperature you've used it in? A complaint I've seen about the Magic Pies is that the internal controllers burn up, so I wonder if the MP3 with its fan would hold up in the 100+F temps I'll be riding in.
Its still going to be a couple weeks before I can start buying parts, I have to wait until after I finish selling the Insight.
Thank you vskid3! I should mention for others the thread you linked to starts out with trouble, the solder, wiring & connectors of the (now outdated) MP2 left much to be desired - however once repaired they've given me no issue and from all reports the MP3 has addressed this with better connectors & wiring and presumably, soldering as I've heard no complaints whatsoever.

Endless Sphere is an amazing resource, having said that they're not the best when representing the more basic builds, off the shelf kits & simple setups like this - they do represent the cutting edge of ebike tech quite well, high power custom motors & builds abound... but there's a middle ground oft ignored or dismissed.

Torque arms are as good an example as any - they're ofc a good thing that can't hurt to have, but for a mere 1.3hp at most, peak at that (1000w)... they're just not the absolute must as so often presented, aluminum frame or not. A human can produce that much for brief moments (power/down stroke) with as much or more torque. In this application axle rotation if any is far more likely caused by sloppy or loose axle mounting, while axle movement (down & out) is however another matter and not all torque arms are capable of preventing it - fortunately it's a simple fix for those kits that haven't accounted for it with suitable hardware. Five minutes at most w/my dremel fixed the issue, it's not been a problem since in all the miles of abu... erm "use" & there's no torque arm to be seen lol;



The box-store bike thing I'll get back to - but the regen is normally initiated via switched brake levers during braking (they're included with the kit) which can be an issue if you've integrated levers with your shifters, as mine does. As a workaround I rewired the regen to the disused horn button (momentary switch) and so I'm able to engage the regenerative braking when I please, without using the bicycle's brakes.

This is actually a handy modification as not only does it reduce brake usage, I can choose not to activate the regen on questionable surfaces such as paint, leaves or ice & snow. The braking power of regen is significant, borderline not-quite lockup on packed dirt isn't uncommon - but it's an adjustable parameter within the controller and most are quite pleased with the simplicity of the switched levers so... to each their own I figure.

I have ridden in excess of 100 and I've had no problems, I've even hauled cargo & trailers without issue - however as I do live in Maine it's usually the other extreme I've to contend with, far too often actually it's sub-zero conditions that Mongo is dealing with, without complaint I might add

I'd summarize by saying, the MP is a decent, even decedent (feature rich) entry level hub motor - but there are many hubs to choose from that may or may not be better, the features themselves may or may not be needed or wanted. Again, it's the batteries that are so very important, they're the investment and what will "make or break" a build, your satisfaction with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant-53 View Post
As much as I admire WalMart I would not buy a cheap bike for an e-bike project. The big issue is with the wheel bearings...
Quote:
Originally Posted by bryn View Post
i would start with a good used mountain bike that is tenish years old. find one for $100...

if my local bike shop was a walmart... I would walk.
Ahh... the never ending box store bike debate lol

First let me say, of course a better bike is better - it's how good "good enough" needs to be that's the real question here.

Like with all things there's a middle ground, I'd no sooner buy a $100 wallyworld special then I'd kick out thousands for the name brand BSery - they're both a rip off in their own way.

Don't buy by price - make an informed purchase, research the components, look at materials & most importantly weld quality. If you've not the experience to do this, find an unbiased friend to aid you. Paying too much for not enough isn't limited to Walmart - trust me, I ride a recumbent lol

I purchased the Mongoose because it had a stout frame design with simply gorgeous welds, everything else unimportant as it was to be replaced or upgraded anyway - and it's far less expensive to do this yourself then buy a "branded" bike with the same components. The rims are the critical weak point, but a good set of double wall alloys laced up isn't much at all. The bearings may well be questionable - but the rears are replaced with the electric hub motor (sealed BTW) and the fronts have held up without any sign of failure with no more attention then proper adjustment & repacking with a quality marine grade grease, as I have done with all of my bikes & builds with the same result.

It's of course not better then a "better" bike, but it is better then I've needed so far. I've crashed & smashed the thing more times then I'd care to remember and it hasn't failed me, nor has the other "not the cheapest" box store bikes I've motorized & that's the trick of it - buy by your eye, not your wallet lol

Figured I'd throw in a "crash & smash" just for the heckofit, the skid marks left by my cartwheeling carcass amusing if nothing else;



...ice & impatience, a bad combo if ever there was one - in any case, moving right along

The wheelset is the most questionable on these less expensive bikes, the suspension forks a distant second with the shifters generally being garbage. The wheelset should be upgraded on any motorized bicycle due to the speed & weight increase, the forks will suffice till they fail & honestly, while annoying - the shifters aren't particularly needful with an additional 1.3hp helping you along, I start off aided in 21st (highest) and don't bother shifting again until winter snow, then I put it in the 10th gear or so & leave it be till spring rolls around again at long last


I'll skip right over v-brakes/rim brakes as I hate them with a deep and abiding passion, I'll not purchase anything other then disc (or drums for a vintage build)... but if someone likes them & thinks they are "good enough", then again I'll say "to each their own" lol & ride on!

Last edited by BarelyAWake; 03-31-2014 at 05:48 AM..
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Old 03-31-2014, 11:28 PM   #20 (permalink)
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There are some deals to be had if you are looking rugged components not price or flashy finish. I used CV joint grease in cables since it is a moly disulfide type. Good grease/oil and correct adjustment covers a lot of issues. Make sure the bike is the right fit for rider comfort.

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